In an effort to combat rising homelessness, the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) ,in partnership with the Pasadena Fire Department, has launched the Pasadena Outreach Response Team (PORT).

PORT’s goal is to identify individuals who are chronically homeless and, through supportive services and case management, help them get off the streets and into permanent housing.

“Homelessness is a public health issue,” Michael Johnson, director of Pasadena’s Public Health Department, said in a prepared statement.

“Due to its complex nature and the urgent need to address the health and social disparities faced by the homeless population, innovative approaches are needed to facilitate access to vital services, such as medical care, mental health and behavioral care, and social services,” Johnson said.

There has been a significant increase in the number of individuals who are homeless, especially among older adults, according to the city of Pasadena 2018 Homeless Count. At the time of that count, there were 677 homeless people, an 18 percent increase from the count in 2017 (575), and a 28 percent jump from 2016 (530).

PORT, a street-based approach that “engages, assesses, serves and provides links to housing opportunities” for the  chronically homeless, is a team comprised of a case manager, or social worker, a public health nurse, a firefighter, and an outreach worker from Union Station Homeless Services. Since its inception in late 2018, PORT, according to the statement issued by the city, has enrolled 107 individuals, ranging from ages 20 to 79.

PORT street-based services include:

· Outreach

· Intensive case management

· Basic health screenings

· Linkage to housing programs

· Supportive services

The project is supported through a five-year grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

For more information, contact PPHD’s Social and Mental Health Division at (626) 744-6339.